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Multi-User Quickbooks via the Internet

Posted on 2007-11-18
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I currently have a multi-user version of Quickbooks Pro 2007 running on one computer.  This computer is connected to the internet via Verizon FIOS.  I have 3 people that need to use Quickbooks from other locations around the country.  Currently I have this computer setup for Remote Desktop and everyone uses this to access Quickbooks.  This works fine except ONLY one person can use the system at one time.  We tried the Online version of Quickbooks but it was too slow and everyone had some complaint or another about it.  I am looking for other Ideas on how to set this up so that 3 or more people can use this remotely.  Maybe a small business server,  but I don't think that will work unless I had a few desktop machines setup so each user could remotely log into his own machine.  I don't think Quickbooks is a true client/server based software?  Does anyone have any ideas?
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Question by:waytron
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by:Zenith63
Zenith63 earned 200 total points
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Windows Terminal Services on a Windows 2003 Server is what you need.  It will basically allow more people (up to the number of Terminal Server CALs you buy) to log in via Remote Desktop to a single box.

Note you cannot install Windows Terminal Services in Application Mode (which you will need) on a Windows SBS server, so you will need to buy a server, a copy of Windows 2003 Server Standard and some Terminal Server Client Access Licenses (aka CALs).

We use this on customer sites for all sorts of accounting applications with great success.


See http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/terminalservices/default.mspx
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by:waytron
ID: 20307638
I am not sure if I understand.  If I purchase a server and I installed Quickbooks on it, I don't think you can run more than one instance of qucikbooks at a time.  Maybe I do not get the concept.
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Rob Williams earned 300 total points
ID: 20307659
There is an enterprise version of QuickBooks, as well as using standard QuickBooks Pro with a few permissions changes that will allow you to run QuickBooks on Terminal services. (see below).

Only options are to use use the QuickBooks web version or Terminal Services (or a series of PC's) as QuickBooks will not run using the application locally and the data on a remote server using a VPN or similar connection. The connection is too slow, QuickBooks will time out or possibly even corrupt the data.

Instructions below applied to earlier versions of QuickBooks. On the latest version I have only had to do step 5. Short printer names still applies.
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You can make QuickBooks available in a TS environment, if you give the users some extra privileges. Here are the steps:

1. Perform a normal installation of QuickBooks (in install mode!)
2. Reboot
3. Enter install mode again (change user /install), start QuickBooks and activate it by entering the registration code (this is a crucial step, and must be performed immediately following the reboot
4. Go back to execute mode (change user /execute)
5. Copy the %system root%\Intuit folder into each users %user profile%\Windows folder
6. Create a QuickBooks Users group
7. Add your users to this group
8. Give the group Full Control to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Intuit\QuickBooksRegistration
9. Give the group Full Control to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.QPG
10. Give the group Full Control to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\obja.obja
11. give the group Full Control to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\QuickBooks.application
12. Give the group Modify rights to the Program Files\Intuit\QuickBooks Pro folder

Also make sure that clients use short names for printers if they need to print to a redirected local printer. QuickBooks cannot handle long printer names.
Copied from: http://www.network54.com/Forum/thread?forumid=346313&messageid=1102705038&lp=1115999167

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by:waytron
ID: 20307725
Thank you for your quick responses...   Does this sound like an option?  Could I just have 3 pc's running quickbooks, One of them has the data, and just use remote desktop to get into each computer.  I would just need to change the default listening port for each pc and forward the proper ports in the router?  Could all three remote users get in at the same time?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20307749
Yes that will work fine. The only downside is tying up 3 PC's.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20307779
PS- Are you familiar with vitalization?
If not; Vitalization either Windows or VMWare allows you to run multiple virtual PC's on one piece of hardware. In a typical example, the PC would run a base operating system such as XP, Server 2003, or even Linux (free). The virtual software is added (several versions are free), and then you install virtual machines on that system. One computer, if it has enough horesepower, can run multiple virtual machines. Though you only have one physical box, the virtual machines are each seen and treated on the network as totally different computers. Each of these could be running QuickBooks. I have had this work well with other DOS accounting apps that will not run on Terminal server.
Note: you still need an XP license for each virtual machine, but 1 dual core processor with 4GB of ram could suffice for your 3 virtual machines.

Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 (free):
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx
Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 (free):
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/
VMWare (only server version is free):
http://www.vmware.com/
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by:waytron
ID: 20307798
Great, I might just try that because I have tons of extra PC around.  But back to the Server concept.  I still not sure how this works and I guess I do not understand TS.  If three people are logged in remotely, are you actually running 3 instances of the program?
Also, is the enterprise version of Quckbooks any different?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20308034
>>"If three people are logged in remotely, are you actually running 3 instances of the program?"
Yes. That is why the %system root%\Intuit folder has to be copied to each user's profile.

>>"Also, is the enterprise version of Quckbooks any different?"
Yes, but I'm not very familiar with the differences. Site is here, but it's not cheap:
http://quickbooks.intuit.com/product/accounting-software/enterprise-software-solution.jhtml
As I recall it is designed to automatically install properly on terminal server, and it allows more simultaneous users. I think the multi-user version is limited to only 5.

For the record I have QuickBooks Pro 2004, 2006 and 2007 running on terminal servers with various clients and no issues. Actually they are running on Virtual Terminal Servers, using Windows Small Business Server as the host machine.
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by:waytron
ID: 20308186
Oh, so I could do this with SBS 2003?  Zenith63 above said it had to be a full version on Server 2003.
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by:Zenith63
ID: 20308935
SBS does not support Terminal Services in Application Mode.  You can remote desktop in for administrative purposes but that's it.  RobWill is saying he has an SBS server as the host for virtual servers (probabaly running Windows 2003 or Windows XP), not that he is using Terminal Services on an SBS server directly.

You get 120 days free trial of Terminal Services before you have to buy it, so if you can get Windows 2003 Standard onto any sort of machine you can try this out and see how it goes for you.
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by:waytron
ID: 20309000
Sorry, I  missed the "Virtual" in his initial statement.
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by:waytron
ID: 20309023
I did a quick check on the list price for Server 2003 and terminal services for 5  users and it comes to about $1700 list price.  Does that seem correct?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20309336
You need Server 2003 std., Terminal server CAL's, and server CAL's. Do you have any other servers present now? If so, it's possible you won't need the server CAL's depending on the current licensing configuration. Server and TS calls are probably about $1700 as you said. The server CAL's would be another $500 if needed.
If buing a new server (hardware) you can by an OEM version of Server 2003 that is about $300 less.

As Zenith63 said, which was correct, I am not running Terminal services on SBS, that is not an option. Rather I am running VMware server on the SBS, and then I have a virtual Server 2003 running as a terminal server. Everyone sees it as a totally different machine and it has it's own IP address and such. It functions as a member server in the SBS domain.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20309595
By the way another option I have heard good things about, but never tried is Winconnect. It allows up to 21 users to use a single XP machine machine as a terminal server. It starts at 3 users for $300. However, I don't know if you can get QuickBooks to run on it. If they have a demo version or if support can advise, it might be worth looking at:
http://www.thinsoftinc.com/product_thin_client_winconnect_server_xp.aspx
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by:waytron
ID: 20342538
Well, for the moment we decided to keep using Quickbooks as we were before with only one user at a time logging on via remote desktop.  It turned out that everyone seems to need quickbooks in single user mode.  I think we might give the online version a try again at some point and see if it is any faster than before and see if they have fixed some of the problems we had before.  Thank you all for you help.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20343221
Very welcome. At least you know some options that are available to you now.
Thanks waytron.
Cheers !
--Rob
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by:datathought
ID: 23105434
Quickbooks is NOT WAN useable.
If you check the Intuit website carefully you will discover that Intuit does NOT recommend Quickbooks be used in a WAN environment. ONLY Locally. Database corruption can occur because Quickbooks is a very "chatty" program and the time issues (timeouts) etc especially over VPN are horendous.
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